It’s time. IT’S TIME. IT’S TIME TIME TIME. Sword Art Online II has arrived, and I can finally watch this show at the same time as everybody else. No more constant spoilers, no more comments laughing about whatever I’m about to run into, no more one-way delicious tears. Sword Art Online is very clearly our form of Event Television, and thistime I’m actually going to be there at the starting line.
If you don’t follow my site, you may not be aware that I’ve actually been cataloging my journey through the first season over the past few months. I’ve done episodic writeups for all the episodes, with my final one containing abrief overview of the first season, which I found pretty aesthetically impressive but very narratively lacking. Or if you just enjoy the silly concept writeups, you can stick to Hardboiled Sword Art Online and Kirito, The Hand of God – yeah, things have gotten pretty weird these last few weeks. Either way, I’m excited to finally be watching SAO as it airs, and want to please ask anyone commenting to refrain from spoiling future stuff – it’d be nice to actually experience this show fresh for once.
So… yeah. New season of SAO, new game for Kirito to conquer, new love interest played by friggin’ Sawashiro Miyuki. I’m ready. You ready? YOU BETTER BE READY. GET HYPE, IT’S SWORD ART ONLINE.
0:10 – Yep, that’s the show I remember. Goddamn SAO is pretty
0:19 – So a cyberpunk world this time? Hopefully it ends up feeling more distinctive than Aincrad – though the backgrounds are often great, the worlds still generally felt like a missed opportunity compared to the more distinctive videogames out there
0:21 – Clearly a cool dude
0:47 – The intersection of silly player handles and the increasing visibility of players when it comes to esports is always pretty funny to me. There’s something karmically pleasing about hearing esports commentators breathlessly explain a new strategy developed by DANKxNUTS or whoever
2:44 – Aw dang
3:04 – Reaaaaally hoping we don’t end up with another “MWAHAHA I SURE LOVE EVIL” villain this time. Alfheim’s mustache-twirling villain partially dragged the whole arc down with him
Granted, that itself was really a reflection of this author’s apparent Kirito-centric worldview, but still. Nuance!
3:24 – Guns on trees, guns in streams, guns every which way. Welcome to Gun World
3:51 – Asuna helpfully reminding us of the central theme of the first season. And if you don’t recall, the answer is “nothing, basically, as long as you have meaningful human experiences there.” The show didn’t really articulate this the best, but it’s definitely what it was pointing to
4:21 – Always a charmer. Kinda interested to see what, if anything, the author does with Kirito as a character at this point. His original flaw was ostensibly his antisocial nature, but that wasn’t really articulated by the show, and was eventually kind of discarded. In truth, Kirito is pretty much good at everything, but the author seems to sort of know “what stories are supposed to do” even if he can’t organically integrate those things into his storytelling, and so Kirito will probably have some new emotional journey to overcome this time
6:09 – As with the first season, SAO remains really, really, really confident in how much the audience is supposed to be buying into its characters and gravitas. So it has a long sequence of basically nothing happening, because you’re supposed to already love just watching these characters do anything together
6:26 – I WILL BECOME A GOD
7:41 – Asuna plz this a scientific question your statement has no support
8:59 – So I guess this guy was in the OVA thing? I only finished the first season yesterday, so I never got to that
9:49 – Alright, good to know
10:38 – Kind of a grim little detail that he went that long without being noticed as absent from the real world
11:21 – Another pretty sharp dig at online addiction there. In light of the first season, I can’t imagine this show actually becoming critical of losing yourself in an online world, but these lines here definitely seem to be aiming in that direction
13:44 – No Kirito stahp
14:20 – So I assume instead of directly frying your brain, it just overstimulates you with data or something? Man, this show is really selling me on the Oculus Rift!
14:43 – It’s a good thing they sought out Kirito’s expert opinion on the link between VR stimulation and the human nervous system. He has been reading a whole lot of tech forums lately
14:50 – Ooooh, nice! Some animator really went to work on this sequence
15:31 – One would hope
15:52 – WE’RE CLOSING THE CASE
17:59 – Aw shit, those glasses. You know he’s serious now!
18:27 – I love how this show keeps using a vague “America” as the True Evil behind VR technology. Crazyeyes Oberon also wanted to sell his technology to Evil Americans
Holy shit, I’ve become an SAO love interest. He really does have that magnetism!
21:01 – More prettiness
Dang, that was a really slow first episode. There was a fair amount of information to get through, and I suppose they tried to some extent to make it visually interesting, but yeah, not the most exciting introduction. And jeez, “DEATH GUN”? I suppose “Fairy King Oberon” is pretty ridiculous too, but yeah, that’s pretty on-the-nose.
So I guess we’ve got “Kirito hiding his One Last Mission from Asuna” drama, and this new girl’s drama, and the central Death Gun drama, and that seems like a fair amount to juggle at the moment. I’m guessing Kirito’s introduction to this world will be some kind of setpiece, so hopefully episode two rewards us for the slowness of that one. I mean, it’s hard not to improve on twenty straight minutes of introduction and exposition…